In response to the publication of a final rule implementing the Fair Housing Act’s disparate impact standard by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), National Community Reinvestment Coalition President and CEO Jesse Van Tol released the following statement:
“I am glad to see HUD has rolled back a harmful rule change made by the outgoing Trump administration in 2020. Strong fair housing enforcement is critical to ensuring equal rights and protecting individuals and communities from discrimination. HUD’s issuance of this rule is an important step in making it possible for effective future efforts by HUD, fair housing advocates and others to achieve justice through this critical element of civil rights law.
“HUD’s action reflects the Biden administration’s commitment to restoring key fair housing protections that had been in place since 2013 – and it is also reflective of the thorough, carefully considered rulemaking processes that the Biden team has followed on these and other key issues affecting economic justice. This rule is firmly grounded in Congress’s statutory intent and reflects ample legal precedent.
“I applaud HUD staff for their hard work on this rule to reestablish a key foundational piece of fair housing law.”
HUD’s announcement reinstates the 2013 Discriminatory Effects rule, also known as the Disparate Impact rule, which the Trump Administration attempted to roll back in 2020 before that action was stayed by judicial order for being arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. The 2013 rule provided a consistent and clear framework for applying the disparate impact standard which reflected decades of fair housing case law. This important legal standard prohibits housing discrimination where a policy results in an unequal and harmful impact on the basis of a protected characteristic and is unjustified or a less discriminatory alternative is available. The standard was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2015 in Texas Dept of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project.
HUD announced the release of the final rule today, with formal publication in the Federal Register forthcoming.